Advertising
Advertising

10 Eye-Opening Books Steve Jobs Would Have Recommended

10 Eye-Opening Books Steve Jobs Would Have Recommended

It’s been said again and again that Steve Jobs was a visionary, but it wasn’t because he focused only on growing Apple and designing the iPhone. How did he think the way he did? Surely he learned from someone.

He read books that focused on more than just technology and business. As you’ll see below, in addition to those subjects, his reading list included topics like meditation and a vegetarian diet. Most importantly, the books that Steve Jobs read shared one main characteristic: they were about an individual overcoming obstacles to transform the world. This is exactly what he did with Apple.

Here are 10 eye-opening books that influenced Steve Jobs.

1. 1984, George Orwell

1984

    Imagine what life would be like if you had no control over anything in your world. This is a story about one man’s fight against an oppressive, all-controlling state. It makes the reader contemplate aspects of society that are controlling them, and question the control they have over their own thoughts and actions.

    It’s inarguable that Steve Jobs was influenced by this book. The first advertisement which introduced the Apple Macintosh depicted the world as oppressed and dominated by IBM, and Apple was the only alternative able to disrupt the conformist status quo.

    2. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

    Advertising

    innovators dilemma

      In The Innovator’s Dilemma, Christensen discusses the that idea that successful companies may fail to adopt new technology or business models that would help their customers’ future needs as a result of focusing too much on their customers’ current needs. As we work to achieve our goals or grow our businesses we have to focus on our short-term goals, but at the same time avoid getting stuck with a short-term outlook. We have to consider what our end goal is and make sure our current goals fit with that vision.

      Apple often looked past it’s current technology and continued to change its own technology. Take the iPhone for example, which has all the features of an iPod and more- making iPods obsolete.

      3. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

      zen mind beginners mind

        Meditation has been proven to improve mental health and reduce stress. In today’s fast-paced, hectic world, it’s important to have moments to yourself. If you’re looking to get a start in meditation, this is the go-to book. It’s a compilation of talks given by Suzuki, providing a concise introduction to Zen meditation. It also discusses the topics of selflessness and mindfulness.

        Steve Jobs often used the methods found in this book to center himself during difficult moments in his career. He was such an avid practitioner that he considered going to Japan to continue his practice, but was advised against it.

        4. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

        autobiography of a yogi

          This book gives us a look into the life of Paramahansa Yogananda. He shares his encounters with spiritual figures of the East and West and his journey from childhood to becoming a monk. Through sharing his experiences, he attempts to explain the spiritual laws of everyday occurrences.

          Advertising

          If you’re looking to understand life in a little more depth, this book will help you develop an understanding of people from different faiths and creeds, emphasizing the idea of peace through self-realization.

          Jobs read and reread this book while he stayed at a guesthouse in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. He continued to reread it every year afterwards.

          5. Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe

          diet for a small planet

            This was the first book that introduced a significantly different and healthier way of eating to America: being a vegetarian. This book contains simple rules in an easy-to-follow format, and recipes for anyone looking to start on a high-protein vegetarian diet. Healthy eating and dieting is a difficult goal for many of us, but with specific recipes and explanations, Lappe decreases the barriers to healthy eating.

            After reading this book, Jobs swore off meat, became a vegetarian, and began to experiment with other extreme diets.

            6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

            moby dick

              Moby Dick tells the story of a ship captain and his efforts to get revenge on a white whale that destroyed his ship and severed his leg. The captain demonstrates lessons in persistence that we can learn from- guiding us to hopefully conquer our own white whales. Maybe you’re stuck on a problem, or finding it difficult to achieve a goal. This is a sign you have your own white whale to conquer.

              Advertising

              Jobs and Apple had a white whale in the 1980s: entering a market that was already dominated by another company, IBM. Through many struggles, Jobs was able to help Apple to achieve its own share of the market. It’s safe to say that Apple has conquered many white whales since then.

              7. King Lear by William Shakespeare

              king lear

                In this tragedy, Shakespeare demonstrates how life can suddenly turn for the worse, telling the story of a king who’s betrayed by his daughters and robbed of his kingdom as he descends into madness. We can learn from the mistakes of King Lear, who betrayed those who loved him the most, was fooled by appearances, and ended up leading his country to civil war.

                Jobs told Walter Isaacson, the author of his biography, that he “loved King Lear”, which isn’t surprising.

                “King Lear offers a vivid depiction of what can go wrong if you lose your grip on your empire, a story surely fascinating to any aspiring CEO,” says Daniel Smith, author of How to Think Like Steve Jobs.

                8. Inside the Tornado, by Geoffrey A. Moore

                inside the tornado

                  New companies often face the problem of finding early adopters for new products, then determining how to reach the mainstream market. Moore provides a method of navigating inside this tornado, helping you to get your company through the turmoil that is taking a product to mass market successfully. This book is recommended for anyone looking to grow a company.

                  Advertising

                  The release of new products means accepting that it may take a while for the general public to adapt to things that are new. Apple has clearly developed strategies to assist them to survive their own tornadoes and get products past early adopters to the mainstream market.

                  9. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

                  atlas shrugged

                    What happens when billionaire CEOs drop their companies in the name of good, but end up harming the economy? Ayn Rand, hailed as one of the most profound philosophers of the 20th century, tells the story of a dystopian United States where successful CEOs abandon their fortunes and cause important industries to collapse. She provides a deep analysis of ideas like morality, egoism, and the potential destruction of altruism.

                    As the CEO of a large and highly influential company, Jobs likely contemplated his motivations and the effects of his decisions on the world.

                    10. The Tao of Programming, by Geoffrey James

                    the tao of programming

                      This book is a spoof of classic Taoist texts and explains various hacker ideals of work and programming. Through a series of short anecdotes, Geofrrey James outlines lessons about software management and design. A must-read for new project managers or project leads, Steve Jobs personally told Geoffrey James that he enjoyed this book.

                      So why not choose one of these books to kick off your summer reading- you might just change your perspective on life and business at the same time.

                      Featured photo credit: Albumarium via albumarium.com

                      More by this author

                      19 Real Life Examples of An Extroverted Introvert So You Don’t Get Confused 10 Eye-Opening Books Steve Jobs Would Have Recommended david ly khim career advice world class leaders The Best Career Advice From 15 World-Class Leaders To Millennials

                      Trending in Communication

                      1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                      How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                      How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                      For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                      If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                      Example 1

                      You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                      You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                      In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                      Example 2

                      You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                      People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                      You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                      Example 3

                      You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

                      Advertising

                      The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                      Example 4

                      You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                      Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                      If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                      Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                      • Understand your own communication style
                      • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                      • Communicate with precision and care
                      • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                      1. Understand Your Communication Style

                      To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                      In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                      Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                      2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                      Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

                      Advertising

                      If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                      “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                      This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                      To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                      3. Exercise Precision and Care

                      A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                      On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                      Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                      I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                      I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

                      Advertising

                      In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                      The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                      Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                      4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                      Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                      In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                      “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                      Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                      Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                      It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

                      Advertising

                      It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                      It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                      Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                      Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                      The Bottom Line

                      When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                      I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

                      More Articles About Effective Communication

                      Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      Read Next